Oration for the Consecration of The Scout Lodge No. 9783
By the Provincial Grand Chaplain.
R.W. Provincial Grand Master, Distinguished Brethren, Brethren: When one compares the principles of Scouting with the principles of freemasonry, it is very hard to believe that Major General Sir Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell - 'B.P.' was not a member of the Craft. His brother was, and his grandson is, and he was himself a close friend of Rudyard Kipling, a brother well noted for his superb descriptive poems that emphasise the fellowship of Masonry. It looks quite likely that Kipling contributed to the planning that went into the founding of Scouting early last century; doubtless B.P. was quick to see the enormous value of establishing the principles of masonry in the minds of the young when searching for role models, albeit perhaps unconsciously, and when at their most impressionable. Looking at the two organisations' principles, the conjoint significance is revealed:
A Scout must: Promise a duty to God, accept loyalty to the Sovereign, and help other people at all times. A Freemason must: Believe in a Supreme Being, obey the laws of God and man, and extend Charity and brotherly love. With such shared philosophy, it is no surprise that so many of you have thought it meet and right that there should be a Scouters' lodge in this province, and I think that you will not lack for members. I am sure that there are many brethren who, like me, were only in the movement for a short while and welcome the advent of this lodge - in my Scouting career I was a Wolf Cub, and a Sixer to boot! As a Scout I was a member of the Peewit patrol for about a year before the progress of the war changed things! Nevertheless, it made a great impression upon me, and I have very happy memories of Wide Games, Coastguards and Smugglers, Camps and Camp Fires, and adopting seriousness about being a believer, a loyal subject, and a helpful individual. As we all know, these things, once inculcated, never leave one, and I suspect they have, along with the role models provided by our leaders, been influential for many of us in our joining the Craft.
From that potted study of the things Scouting and Masonry hold in common, there can be no doubt of the rightness of what we do today, and I hope that there will be an outreach to put forward, and support those who put forward, the principles of Scouting to as wide an audience as possible in our schools and youth clubs. The Scout Movement has done its best to move with the times, and we should encourage those who would do so, for if my experience is anything to go by, our secondary schools have engendered in their pupils a concern for society that is worldwide, so that such things as lunchtime concerts or sales are devoted to a good cause at home or overseas. The goodwill appears to be there, so perhaps there is potential? I suggest that the media should not be believed when they highlight youth crime and minor misdemeanours; I think the vast majority of today's young people are outward looking and concerned at the course of events that bring suffering and poverty. Unfortunately, it is the binge drinkers who get the limelight, but they really are only a tiny portion of the young section of our population, and the question comes to mind, perhaps they are those we should reach? I am sure that if the principles of Scouting and Masonry were given a wider audience, they would catch on amongst the young, but with this proviso: that they be presented as relevant and worthwhile and of value for society as a whole.
One final point to make: personally, I think the badge the Lodge is adopting is one of the finest from the point of view of its' symbolism: you can read about it on the back of the Order of Consecration - I would like to add one further piece of symbolism, and it is this: the encircling rope, tied with the reef knot becomes endless, and as such, without beginning and without end, a symbol of God and his all embracing love.
The ritual specifies that this is an oration on the excellencies of the order - I hope I have covered them, and that this lodge will grow and flourish, all the while reaching out to support and uphold not only the principles and tenets of masonry, but those of Scouting as well. May the Scout Lodge No. 9783 be greatly blessed throughout its life.